Hot Coffee, a documentary feature film by Susan Saladoff, came to Samford University, Tuesday, April 17. This film illustrated the changes and reactions made after the precedent-setting McDonald’s Hot Coffee case. The case is known as the poster child of excessive lawsuits and began efforts for tort reform our justice system to prevent frivolous lawsuits. The film showed how our 7th Amendment rights have been targeted for erosion in Alabama and other states.
So, what really happened in the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case? What is tort reform? Those are questions students brought to the screening of the film. The director and former Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice, Ralph Cook were on a panel for anyone to ask them questions after the film.
As a PR class, every student had a job to promote this movie last week to students and faculty on Samford’s campus. My job was to write a feature article for The Crimson, describing the future event. Others created posters to hang around campus, table-toppers for the caf, and Samford radio and T.V. announcements. Classmates also went to business classes and sorority and fraternity houses to spread the news of the film.
Our job was to get the word around campus that this opportunity to see a Sundance Film Festival film, receive a free lunch as well as two convo credits was a pretty great deal. We illustrated the screening as enlightening to those of you who did not know the case or wanted to know more about the case, its proceedings and effects on the justice system.
The first 80 students who arrived received a free box lunch courtesy of the sponsors. And if lunch was not a good enough initiative, the film also provided undergraduate students 2 convocation credits.
Between our tweets and Facebook statuses throughout the day, the article in the campus newspaper and posters covering campus, we reached a great deal of Samford students and faculty who may not have heard or been interested in the film before.